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Lowy Institute Poll finds 41% of Australians view global warming as a serious and pressing problem, down from 68% in 2006

The seventh annual Lowy Institute Poll, which surveys Australian public opinion on a wide range of foreign policy issues including climate change, has found that 41% of Australians view global warming as a serious and pressing problem requiring immediate action even at significant cost, down from 68% in 2006.

This option now shares the same level of support as the intermediate proposition that “the problem of global warming should be addressed, but its effects will be gradual, so we can deal with the problem gradually by taking steps that are low in cost” (40%). Support for this option is steady with last year, but is almost double from 2006 when just 24% held this view and 68% supported taking the most aggressive form of action.

Support for the most sceptical position that “until we are sure that global warming is really a problem, we should not take any steps that would have economic costs” is up six points to 19% and has nearly tripled since 2006 when just 7% of Australians held this view. Support for this option increases with age with just 11% of 18 to 29 year olds holding this view compared with 28% of Australians 60 years of age and older.

—Lowy Institute Poll 2011

The foreign policy goal of tackling climate change is considered very important by only 46% of Australians, down seven percentage points from last year and down 29 points from 2007.

Three-quarters of Australian adults (75%) say the current Federal government has done a poor job addressing climate change, with 39% saying it was “very poor” and just 3% saying it was “very good”.


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